For decades now several Egyptian mummies have languished in the vaults of the Museum of Fine Arts. Until now experts knew little about these long dead bodies: their past, lives and identities had been shrouded in mystery. However, in 2011 a comprehensive examination began at the Museum of Fine Arts with the objective of finding out as much as possible about the lives, physical appearance and deaths of the mummies. The findings of the recently completed scientific tests can now be accessed by downloading a new application that brings a truly captivating experience to users who can discover all about mummies, including the physical attributes of ancient Egyptians, the details of their mummification, and learn about the tests recently carried out on their bodies. Moreover, the facial features of a young ancient Egyptian priestess called Hortesnaht have also been reconstructed thanks to state-of-the art technology. The application contains a huge number of photographs, as well as special images and a film presenting the results of CT scans and a 3D short film, which together takes all those interested on an unparalleled journey into a mysterious, exciting world that vanished thousands of years ago.
The special application opens with an intro, which can be viewed in real 3D with red-blue glasses. The film was made by using a virtual model constructed from the 3D scan of the coffin and mummy of Hortesnaht – a priestess who passed away in her youth over 2,000 years ago – and a model of her skeleton digitalised from CT images. The animations show close-up details of the mummy and the coffin and also spectacularly present the results of scientific tests carried out on the mummy (e.g. facial reconstruction, chemical analysis).
Over 110 photographs allow the users of the application to become familiar with the mummy. They not only uncover the process followed in the scientific examinations but also map out the wider context of the research. The photographs can primarily be found in the first thematic unit of the application, which contains information on the background to the research carried out on the mummy and the technologies used, and provides a summary of the scientific findings.
Research: A presentation of the tests carried out on the mummy of a priestess named Hortesnaht, who passed away at a young age, illustrated by photographs and texts (CT, historical anthropology, facial reconstruction, microbiology, chemical analysis).
Reconstruction: This section presents a reconstruction of the life of Hortesnakht, a young Egyptian woman who lived over 2,000 years ago (where and when she lived, what her occupation was, when and why she died, and how she was mummified) based on the results of the research.
In the second part the users of the application can become “researchers” and discover for themselves the hidden secrets of Hortesnaht’s coffin, mummy and skeleton. The three layers of the burial can be viewed individually and with the help of the hotspots by the various parts of the body the related information can be read. These images can be enlarged, thus virtually allowing users to discover the coffin, the mummy and the skeleton in life size.
The Hungarian research, which began at the beginning of 2011, adhered to the methodology applied in the large-scale mummy projects of western museums: it was based on the CT examination of the bodies facilitating a mapping out of the internal parts of the mummies without causing any damage and was supplemented by invasive methods during which tiny samples were taken from the body and skeleton to be analysed (radiocarbon test, chemical analysis, etc.).
Up to six family members will be able to use this app with Family Sharing enabled.